866 (1st November)
The Great Heathen Army led by Ivar the Boneless left East Anglia and marched north. They attacked and took the city of York.
867 (21st March)
Osberht and Aelle of Northumbria united and attacked Viking York. However after breaching the city walls they were cut down in the narrow streets. Osberht and Aelle were both killed. Ivar the Boneless claimed victory over Northumbria and installed Egbert as puppet King.
867 (21st March)
Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye married King Aelle’s daughter Blaeja and either returned to Denmark or settled in Northumbria.
The Viking force invaded Mercia and captured Nottingham. King Aethelred and his brother Alfred marched north but by the time they arrived Burgred, King of Mercia had paid the Vikings off.
The Vikings took Nottingham in Mercia. Burgred, King of Mercia allied with Aethelred and together they lay siege to Nottingham but had to abandon the siege to get the year’s harvest in to feed people during the winter.
The Viking force led by Ivar the Boneless sacked the monastery at Peterborough killing the monks and abbot.
Ivar the Boneless returned to East Anglia. King Edmund of East Anglia decided to oppose the Vikings, was taken prisoner and horrifically murdered.
Halfdan took over as commander of the Great Heathen army when Ivar returned to Dublin. Ivar then disappeared from records and is assumed to have either died or returned to Scandinavia.
The Viking force now led by Halfdan attacked Wessex.
870 (28th December)
Halfdan took Reading
871 (4th January)
Battle of Reading
and his brother Alfred
attempted to lay siege to Reading but the Vikings had fortified the town with a dyke and palisade and the Saxons
were defeated by the Vikings.
871 (8th January)
Battle of Ashdown
This was another battle between the Vikings led by Halfdan and the forces of King Aethelred and his brother, Alfred. The Saxons won the battle and Bagsecg, leader of the Great Summer Army, was killed.
871 (after January)
Halfdan succeeded Bagsecg as King of Jutland and Wendland in Denmark.
871 (22nd January)
Battle of Basing
The Viking force defeated King Aethelred and his brother Alfred.
871 (22nd March)
Battle of Merton
This was another battle between the Vikings led by Halfdan and King Aethelred, supported by his brother Alfred. The battle was inconclusive and both sides withdrew. Aethelred had been badly injured in the battle.
871 (15th April)
Alfred became King when his brother Aethelred died. Aethelred’s two young sons, Aethelwold and Aethelhelm, were considered too young to take the throne.
871 (early Summer)
Battle of Wilton
The Saxons led by Alfred were defeated by the Vikings led by Halfdan.
Alfred paid the Vikings to stop attacking Wessex. The agreement was that the Vikings would leave Wessex alone for five years.
An uprising in Northumbria overthrew the Viking puppet King Ecgbert. The Viking force established a new base in Lindsey and quickly suppressed the Northumbrian revolt.
The Viking force moved to Mercia and captured Repton.
The Vikings led by Halfdan conquered Mercia. King Burghred was expelled. A puppet King, Ceolwulf was installed.
The Great Heathen Army split. Halfdan took his section north while Guthrum took the remainder south.
The Viking force led by Guthrum attacked Wessex and took Wareham (Dorset). Alfred lay siege to Wareham but a new Viking force of around 120 ships was seen off the coast meaning success was unlikely.
The Vikings led by Halfdan began dividing up Northumbria preparing to settle the land permanently.
Alfred made a deal with Guthrum, leader of the Vikings and demanded hostages in return for peace. But Guthrum did not keep the deal, he killed his Saxon hostages and moved to Exeter, leaving the Viking ships at Wareham.
A freak storm destroyed a large number of Guthrum’s ships moored off Wareham and a large number of Vikings were drowned. This allowed Alfred to leave Wareham and march to Exeter where he forced Guthrum to surrender. Guthrum then moved to Gloucester.
The Vikings led by Guthrum began dividing up Mercia preparing to settle the land permanently.
The Vikings made further raids on Wessex taking land in Wiltshire and Hampshire
Guthrum left Wessex.
878 (6th January)
Guthrum returned with a large force and marched on Chippenham where Alfred was resident. Most of the town’s inhabitants were killed but Alfred managed to escape. It is likely that this was the last straw for the Witan and that Alfred lost their support due to the fact that his attempts to pay off the Vikings had not worked. Alfred was forced to leave Wessex in fear for his life. He sought refuge in the Somerset marshes at Athelney.
A large Viking force led by Ubba approached Contisbury Hill in North Devon where Earldorman Odda and his fyrd were inside the fort. Odda and his men surprised the Vikings by breaking out of the fort and attacking. The Vikings suffered heavy losses and Ubba was killed.
878 (after Easter)
Guthrum was unable to make further progress into Wessex since Alfred adopted a tactic of using guerilla warfare.
878 (4th or 5th May)
Battle of Edington
Guthrum was defeated by King Alfred’s army. He was forced to accept baptism and peace terms. The Treaty of Wedmore recognised Danish occupation of England north of the line from London to Chester. Guthrum was to withdraw to behind this line and be recognised as King of his own independent kingdom. Guthrum’s new Danish Kingdom in England was subject to new laws called Danelaw.
As per the Treaty of Wedmore, Guthrum and around 30 chief Vikings were baptised.
Guthrum, who had been baptised Aethelstan, moved his people to Mercia.
Guthrum moved his people to East Anglia where he ruled as King Aethelstan.
The Viking puppet king, Ceowulf of Mercia died. He was replaced by Ealdorman Aethelred but Guthrum retained control of Eastern Mercia.
Guthrum, who had ruled East Anglia as King Aethelstan, died.